Consumers Say Digital Ads’ Relevance is Climbing, as Is Their Likelihood to Click on Them

February 6, 2023

Most consumers want to see ads that are relevant to them, but far fewer in the past say that’s been the case. Things may be changing, though, according to data from CivicScience. Results from a January survey indicate that 41% of US adults feel that the majority of digital ads they see are either very (6%) or somewhat (35%) relevant to them. That 41% figure is up from 35% in March 2022 and 30% in March 2021.

CivicScience notes that perceptions of digital ad relevance are heavily influenced by age, with adults under the age of 35 being 5-6 times more likely than their older counterparts to find digital ads to be “very” relevant. In fact, fewer than 3% of adults ages 35 and up say that digital ads are “very” relevant to them.

Reported digital ad relevance is also higher among social media users, per the survey’s findings: social media users are twice as likely as non-users to say that most of the digital ads they see are relevant to them. (This could be due to non-users being more likely to be older.)

Looking at users of specific platforms, the results indicate that 71% of TikTok users surveyed find that the majority of digital ads they see are either “very” (19%) or “somewhat” (52%) relevant to them. This is easily the highest figure of the 5 platforms studied:

  • 61% of Twitter users said that most of the digital ads they see are “very” (16%) or “somewhat” (45%) relevant;
  • 54% of Instagram users say the majority of ads they see are “very” (12%) or “somewhat” (42%) relevant;
  • Fewer than half (44%) of Facebook users say the same (9% and 35%, respectively); while
  • Only 4 in 10 YouTube users feel that most of the ads they see are “very” (6%) or “somewhat” (34%) relevant.

Again, this could be related to age. As the most widely used social media platforms, YouTube and Facebook are more likely to attract older users, whereas TikTok has a much younger adult user base.

Finally, the CivicScience research reveals the benefits of a relevant ad: 56% of respondents said they are “very” (14%) or “somewhat” (42%) likely to click through on a digital ad relevant to their interests. That’s up from 43% who said the same in March 2021.

About the Data: The results are based on surveys conducted among 2-5,000+ respondents in March 2021, March 2022 and January 2023, weighted by US Census 18+.


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